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Research Training and Careers

Outstanding scientists

The MRC has a leading national role in training future research leaders across a range of biomedical, clinical and health disciplines. At any one time, the MRC supports around 1,900 PhD students and 200 postdoctoral fellows. Our aim is to:

  • Train and develop the next generation of research leaders;
  • Support excellent individuals at critical points of their careers;
  • Help address national strategic research skills needs identified with partners.

MRC studentship and fellowship awards are targeted to outstanding individuals undertaking challenging projects in excellent research and training environments. As an MRC student or fellow, you can expect your university, MRC unit or institute to support your development in imaginative and effective ways. In turn, we expect vision and commitment from you.

Extraordinary opportunities

An MRC award enables you to do something truly out of the ordinary. Fellowships are personal awards made by MRC panels, usually by interview, to talented researchers at key points in their careers. With an MRC fellowship you have your own funding for a challenging research project and an ambitious programme of research training and personal development.

We offer a range of MRC fellowships to meet diverse needs, so make sure you know which scheme is most suited to you before you apply. And consider how a placement elsewhere in the UK or abroad, or in industry, could accelerate your development towards research leadership - and help you fulfil your research ambitions.

If you are interested in sharing expertise, building successful research collaborations and making the most of ‘open careers’ between industry and academia, we offer a range of schemes and mechanisms. These include the MRC Industry CASE award for PhD students, the MRC Fellowship - Partnership Award for existing MRC fellows and an advice stage for existing and prospective fellows who wish to find out more about industry collaboration. In addition, all of our fellowship schemes are open to applications involving industry partnerships.

There is detailed information about all the MRC's fellowship schemes on this website.

Past MRC fellows have been twice as successful in gaining grant support as other applicants. More than half of past MRC senior fellows now hold chairs, and most of the remainder hold senior academic, industry or NHS positions. Many of today's leading biomedical and health researchers look back on MRC fellowships as significant stepping stones in developing their careers.


Leading and partnering

The MRC Training and Careers Group (TCG) takes the lead in developing the MRC's strategy across all aspects of research training, careers and skills. Members are drawn from clinical and biomedical research in industry and academia. This enables the group to take a broad, long-term perspective on UK skills shortages, our trainees' needs and how we can work with other organisations.

For instance, more than 10 medical research charities have each partnered with the MRC to co-fund clinicians undertaking PhDs. We also work with the NHS, universities and industry to build capacity in scarce, strategically important skills: quantitive and in vivo skills are among the priorities we have agreed to promote through studentships and fellowships. More about the Training and Careers Group (TCG)